A Guide to California's
Reptiles and Amphibians

Sounds of
Yosemite Toad - Anaxyrus canorus

(Camp, 1916)

(= Bufo canorus)
Click the speaker icon to listen to an mp3 sound file.

Yosemite Toads
Amplexing toads and recently-laid eggs

Male frogs and toads sometimes make a variety of sounds. These calls can have different functions.

Advertisement Calls

The advertisement call is the most well-known call of a frog or toad. It is made by a male during the breeding season to establish his territory and repel rival males and to attract females as potential mates. Males usually make the call in or near bodies of water near areas that are attractive to a female as a good place to lay her eggs. Advertisement calls can be heard during the evening and at night, and often during daylight at the peak of the breeding season. Sometimes an advertisement call will be heard outside of the breeding season and away from water. The reason for this is not understood.

Each species has its own unique advertisement call. This is necessary to differentiate them when there is more than one species calling. The evolution of this specific male advertisement call and its recognition by females is considered to be an important isolating mechanism in the evolution of a species.

The advertisement call of the Yosemite Toad is a long, loud, rapid musical trill, repeated at frequent intervals. It is produced by a male to attract females during the breeding season and to warn other rival males of his presence. It seems to vary in pitch and speed among toads, and this might be due to temperature.

  This is a 7 second recording of a male toad calling in the afternoon from a snow-melt pool in a high-altitude wet meadow surrounded by snow at 9200 ft. elevation in Fresno County (shown to the right.) The air temperature was 37 degrees, but the shallow water was over 60 degrees F. due to the sun. Pacific Treefrogs and water sounds are heard in the background.

Many thanks to Stephanie Weber, aquatic biologist and toad Muse, for helping me to get these recordings.
Yosemite Toad Habitat
Sound  This is a 20 second recording of two male toads (including the one in the video below) calling in the same location described above. One toad calls, then the other.
Short Videos of Male Advertisement Calls
An adult male Yosemite Toad calling from a piece of buried tree root in a wet meadow in Alpine County.
Yosemite Toad
An adult male Yosemite Toad calling from a piece of buried tree root in a wet meadow in Alpine County.
Yosemite Toad
This is a 20 second video of an adult male calling in Fresno County. Yosemite Toad
This is a short video of a male Yosemite Toad giving an advertisement call in Fresno County. © Julie Nelson

Yosemite Toad
This is a short video of a montane breeding meadow in Mariposa County, with the trills of a breeding chorus of Yosemite Toads in the background. © Paul Maier

Yosemite Toad

Waveform and Sonogram
sound  This is a recording of one repetition of the advertisement call of a
Yosemite Toad recorded during daylight in Fresno County.
The image above is a visual representation of this call. Click on it to see a larger image.
Click here for information about how to read the waveform and sonogram images.

Release Calls

A release call is produced by a male toad or an unreceptive female toad when a male toad or other animal gets on its back and grabs its sides in the position used for mating or amplexus. It's a toad's way of saying "Get off my back! Let go!" It is also used to call attention to a male's territory, and a male amplexing a female will produce the call when another male tries to interfere with the amplexus.

sound  This is a low-quality 12 second recording of the release calls of a Yosemite Toad on land, recorded during daylight at a high-altitude meadow in Alpine County (shown on the right.) Birds can also be heard in the background.
Yosemite Toad Habitat
sound  This is a 9 second recording of faint peeping sounds which sound like release calls produced by a male toad at the edge of a hole (shown on the right.) It is possible that the toad was agitated by my presence, and made the release or encounter call to announce his presence and to warn me to go away. After producing the call, the toad backed into the hole to hide. A Pacific Treefrog and running water are heard in the background.
Yosemite Toad
Short Video of Female Release Call
This is a short movie of a male toad amplexing a female toad in Fresno County. A release call, probably made by the female, can be heard as the frogs hop together. A female typically produces this call after she has already laid her eggs and wants the male to release her. © Julie Nelson
Yosemite Toads

You can listen to more recordings of Yosemite Toads on AmphibiaWeb
and on this cd:

Carlos Davidson - Frog and Toad Calls of the Pacific Coast

cd cover

and on the cd that comes with this book:

Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt, and Carlos Davidson - The Frogs and Toads of North America - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

book cover

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